How to program a drinking game

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Let's start with a small disclaimer, of course this is not an actual "How to", it is a blog. It contains my thoughts during the process of making a drinking game for OkThorberfest.

So let's really get started. The problem we encountered was that a tradition we would normally do during OkThorberFest, was not possible anymore. This tradition was the "Stiefel"*, which is a big glass boot filled with beer, being passed around. The game usually goes as follows: The Stiefel full of beer is passed around with its nose facing away from you. Each player drinks from the Stiefel as much as he/she wants and then passes it on to the next person. The challenge is to drink just enough to get the level of beer down just far enough, so that player X after you will have the bubble of air going up into the nose of the Stiefel. When this happens, that person should empty the Stiefel and make sure it is refilled. These are not all the rules, but this is the basis for the drinking game and is what we have used to create the digital version.

The first step was to think of and create a way to emulate drinking from the Stiefel. The way I decided to do this was to program a bar of a certain width and then remove a certain length for each sip a person takes. So I programmed that  with a sort of glass shaped thingy in the middle that would go black if the bar was drained. This worked rather nicely, but was not very exciting, the game needed a bit of a surprise element, an uncertainty about the future. All of that to make sure that too sober people would not calculate how many sips were left and then screw a certain person over. The easiest way to do this was to include a randomize function for the sip size, this one could now go from zero to full sip size, meaning the game could now go all over the place, three sips could be greater than seven (which happened during the evening) and even though a Stiefel was almost empty a sip could still be taken from it.

At this point the game still looked like a red trapezium and a yellow bar going down. This of course was not nearly beautiful enough to pass as a proper emulation of the actual Stiefel. So I dove into Illustrator and Photoshop to create a Stiefel-shape and a beer picture to go in it. I spent some time on a tutorial learning how to make any black shape look like glass and made it so that the game would have multiple different levels of beer in the Stiefel. But still something felt odd... the game was missing something to show the mood of OkThorberfest! After a quick search on google, I found a beautiful depiction of the blue and white diamond pattern which are usually all over Oktoberfest related things. This one was even used on a nice Dirndl as worn by a part of our Board during that day.

Using these fresh pictures and sprites, I was able to finish the Stiefel-game just in time for OkThorberfest and I believe people were enjoying the game that evening.


*to pronounce Stiefel one could try to say (in English) steevl with your best German accent.



Mike Zanderink

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